There are many perspectives on what it takes to be successful in the world of academics, particularly as a researcher. One of the most common perceptions is that it all depends on how hard you work. Dedication and determination are definitely contributing factors, but studies have shown that it takes a lot more than persistence and hard work to make it as a successful scholar.
Academic performance, in general, depends on other circumstances, such as the friends in your circle, your consistency with showing up in the classroom, the types of assessments chosen by the professor, and even your personality. The importance of academic performance on both the individual and the institution has led to many in-depth research studies attempting to figure out just what it is that makes some students succeed in their academic performance and others struggle.
Factors That Impact Performance
More research needs to be performed to thoroughly understand the factors that make an influence on an individual’s academic performance. However, up-to-date studies have shown that much of the results of a student’s academic level depend on external and internal characteristics like:
● The individual student’s behavior, including their social activities, extroverted and introverted personality type, and overall mental health
● Individual personality traits such as their tendency towards conscientiousness, their self-esteem and satisfaction with life in general, the potential to shift towards neuroticism or depression, their ability to handle and manage stress, and their determination of a locus of control
● Time spent immersed in social media online, with the more time spent social networking correlating to reduced ability to perform academically and make friends in person
● Public social interactions, strengthening a student’s ability to manage different opinions, interruptions, obstacles, and other factors that could hinder academic performance more easily than those without frequent social experience
Background knowledge and experience were also part of the factors that impact performance, but the unknown variables were personality and the likelihood of one’s preference of assessments to affect their academic performance.
How Personality and Assessments Can Make a Difference
Cognitive ability is a major feature in a student’s overall grades and performance, but personality plays a significant role as well. This is consistently proven in the realm of homework and study habits. If a personality type veers towards conscientious and dedicated, they are more likely to take their homework seriously and learn from their studies, for instance.
Comparably, the type of assessment in a course determines, at least in part, the student’s success. Students who prefer open-ended questions with the ability to explain their thoughts succeed better in classes where the professor’s assessments consist of a few written or oral and allow for detailed answers. Other students would rather study from a litany of possible questions and complete an assessment with many more questions but multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank style responses. Students with test anxiety may have a hard time being successful in a course where the heavily weighted assessments are in a style that they find uncomfortable.
Part of how a student will respond to things such as homework, study requirements, and assessment structure depends on their core personality traits. Researchers have narrowed down five main characteristics to a successful academic perfomance of a student to include:
● Their innate conscientiousness and dedication to being successful through their academic focus, including meeting deadlines, getting good grades, and developing good study habits
● Their overall agreeable nature and willing to be flexible when assignments don’t go as planned or are more difficult than expected
● The individual’s level of openness to new things, as shown when they take courses they are not already comfortable with and they enter the classroom with an open mind towards learning new information
● The level of extraverted or introverted nature they have, with extraverts more likely to ask questions for further clarification or request help
● The individual’s level of emotional stability, with a calmer person more likely to handle stress, high pressure, and deadlines better than someone who tends towards neurotic behaviors
As an instructor, recognizing these key traits and the lack thereof in your students can help you push each person closer to success by using their own personalities to design an academic plan that works for them.